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Rams’ Jalen Ramsey leads revamped secondary off and on field

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) looks into the stands.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

He earns his living at SoFi Stadium, but Jalen Ramsey as of late has frequented other Los Angeles sports venues.

The Rams’ star cornerback attended two NLDS playoff games at Dodger Stadium — one with other Rams defensive backs — and said Thursday that he and teammates planned to attend the Kings’ hockey game against the Las Vegas Golden Knights at Staples Center on Thursday night.

Ramsey, a sixth-year pro, said he always wanted to organize position group outings to pro sports events. He found opportunities scarce early in his career in Jacksonville, however, and the COVID-19 pandemic eliminated any chance in Los Angeles in 2020.

“This year, let’s live a little bit,” he said. “Be careful, mask up, but live a little bit, have a little fun and build a little team chemistry.”

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Ramsey’s role as leader in the secondary has been elevated as the Rams prepare for a road game Sunday against the New York Giants.

Darious Williams, who has started at cornerback the last two seasons, was placed on injured reserve this week after suffering an ankle injury last Thursday during the Rams’ victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle.

Rams coach Sean McVay, who was given his first NFL job by Jon Gruden, was surprised and saddened by the news that led to the resignation of the Raiders coach.

Ramsey will be playing in a cornerback group that includes rookie Robert Rochell, third-year pro David Long and second-year pro Terrell Burgess in various roles.

“We’re cool, we’re solid,” Ramsey said. “We’ll see how things shake out on Sunday, how well guys play and how well the group in total steps up and fills that void of D-Will being out for a few weeks.

“But super confident in what we can do.”

Long began the season as a starter. He intercepted a pass in the opener against the Chicago Bears, but struggled in a defeat to the Arizona Cardinals.

Rochell, a fourth-round draft pick from Central Arkansas, started in place of Long against the Seahawks. He was burned a few times, but also made some plays that gave coaches confidence to keep him in the lineup.

Burgess played safety and cornerback in college at Utah. He played safety as a rookie before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Burgess has played on special teams this season, but Williams’ absence could move him into the cornerback rotation.

The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners of Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season.

Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has deployed Ramsey from various spots on the outside, the slot and the line of scrimmage. Despite Williams’ absence, Morris indicated Ramsey would still move around for a defense that has given up 23.2 points and 388.2 yards per game.

“You got to have versatility with Jalen,” Morris said. “Darious was a big part of us having that ability to do those things, and now you can’t replace those type of guys with one guy.

“It’s got to be by committee. ... You hear the cliché by coaches saying ‘the next man up.’ This is more like ‘the next men up.’”

The Giants (1-4) are coming off a 44-20 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, a loss in which several key offensive players were injured. Running back Saquon Barkley suffered an ankle injury and will not play Sunday. Receiver Kenny Golladay suffered a knee injury and has not practiced this week.

A federal court filing four months ago revealed new e-mail correspondence of former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen that extended beyond Jon Gruden.

Quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a concussion. He was limited in practice Thursday, according to the Giants injury report. If Jones cannot play, journeyman Mike Glennon will start.

Ramsey, a two-time All-Pro, expects the Rams cornerback corps will be ready.

“It’s going to be group effort for sure, and we got some guys that are going to step into some roles that they hadn’t been in yet,” he said. “So, I guess in that aspect of trying to help them and have the chemistry right, in that aspect I’ve got to step it up a little bit.”


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